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UNHCR resumes repatriations of Ivorian refugees

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The United Nations refugee agency has announced the resumption of voluntary repatriation of Ivorian refugees here following a pause due to the holiday season.

This week, it said four convoys will depart from Liberia: two from PTP refugee camp (Grand Gedeh) carrying 581 persons today (331 already departed) and on Friday 15 (250 registered); and two from Little Wlebo refugee camp (Maryland) carrying 364 persons on Wednesday and Friday. The following week, on 19 and 21 January 2015, Voluntary Repatriation will begin from Bahn refugee camp, in Nimba County, with the estimated return of 993 persons.

It said with aim of facilitating the repatriation of those who wish to do so, between two to four convoys will depart weekly from all three camp locations as feasible during the first half of the year.

“It is with great joy that 1,117 refugees in four convoys were able to return home before 2015 ended; this means that more than 1,000 persons celebrated the holiday season at home. These remarkable results were achieved thanks to the efforts made by all partners in only two weeks,” the release said.

The resumption of voluntary repatriation was agreed upon during a Technical Tripartite Meeting held in Monrovia on 9 and 10 December. The process was halted due to the Ebola outbreak and the subsequent closure of the border.

Despite the border between Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia remaining closed to date, voluntary repatriation is taking place through humanitarian corridors opened by the Ivorian Government so as to facilitate the safe return of its citizens who found safe haven in the neighbouring country.-Press release

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